“Time Paradigms in the Middle Ages and Modernity: When Kairos Passes”
Barbara Baert (University of Leuven)
This lecture treats the literary-historical impact and the iconographic Nachleben of Kairos, the time god of opportunity in the Middle Ages and modernity.
From a literary historical standpoint, Kairos had a great impact on classical rhetoric and on political humanist philosophy. In recent years, studies from an iconographic standpoint have examined the survival of Greek deities in Byzantine and Latin pictorial traditions, where Kairos is connected to Fortuna and Occasio. Moreover, Kairos experienced a revival in humanist iconography as a pendant of Poenitentia (remorse). Prof. Baert will approach the subject in relation to a range of objects including, among others: a 3rd-century Kairos relief following the Lysippos model (Trogir, Croatia); an 11th– or 12th-century marble relief (Torcello, Italy); a 12th-century floor mosaic (Apulia, Italy); a 15th-century grisaille from Mantegna’s milieu (Mantua, Italy); and Girolamo da Carpi’s 16th-century political Kairos now in Dresden.
Prof. Baert will defend how Kairos offers us alternative hermeneutics in which the image can be seen as chronotopos, epiphany and interruption. Kairos is thus not only a key for interpreting notions of time and the perception of fleeing time in the Middle Ages and the early modern period, but also, more fundamentally, Kairos can function as a key to understanding the image as whimsical affect.
“Antiquity, humanist culture and the arts in the Baltic region during the Renaissance”
Franciszek Skibiński (Nicolas Copernicus University, Torun)
Renaissance culture in the lands surrounding the Baltic Sea, encompassing humanist learning, literature, and art, echoed political, religious, and social circumstances distinctive of this part of the continent. Such places as the city of Gdańsk (Danzig), the key trade hub in the Baltic region, and Kaliningrad (Königsberg in Preußen), the capital of the Duchy of Prussia, rose to become regional centres of humanist learning as well as literary and artistic culture. Humanist culture there was intrinsically linked with Reformation. Reconciling humanist ideals with Christian principles local humanists – many of whom arrived there from the lands of the Holy Roman Empire – explored a wide spectrum of topics, ranging from the interpretation of the classical literature (Georg Sabinus) to the study of the local antiquities (Kaspar Hennenberger) and the cult of images (Conrad Graser the Elder). These interests found their reflection in the literary and artistic culture embraced by the creators as well as their local patrons, well-versed in the current cultural trends.
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